On Propaganda

Because bribery and force have limits in terms of the extent to which they can be employed in the way of controlling people, it follows that propaganda is perhaps the most viable and important tool and instrument of control. Propaganda is arguably more effective, important, and viable than military and economic tools and instruments in the way of controlling people. 

Logically, there cannot be “half-truths” or “half-lies,” given that something must either be true or not true. Giving half-truths or half-lies the appearance of truth is called “spin,” and putting “spin” on things is the expertise of “Public Relations” specialists, marketing experts, media figures, and so forth. But as most of us know by now, spin does not equate to truth. As a result, “spin” is placed by talking heads and “pundits” on virtually everything which certain corporate and government figures do and say in order to give their actions and words the appearance of truth. And as George Orwell said: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

One of my assignments as an assistant to the Afghan ambassador in Washington was to generate arguments and statistics in order to convince and persuade American government agencies as well as the ‘World Bank’ that it was worthwhile to continue giving money to the Afghan government. Thus, the whole idea behind the efforts of Afghan officials was that their propaganda — and thus their efforts at persuasion — would get the moneyed entities in Washington to continue giving up their money to them. Moreover, and as Thomas Barfield has written, the entire strategy which the Afghan government relied on for about two decades was to put the right people into all the critical positions that would enable the Afghan government to entice moneyed entities in Washington to continue giving up their money. 

There is also the issue of fear and scare tactics and “psychological warfare” as the basic elements of mainstream propaganda not just in the United States, but in other places as well. As far as America is concerned, the threat or accusation of “espionage” has been a viable scare tactic ever since the inception of the American republic, a fact and reality which is manifest to students of American history. As a result, accusations of “espionage” against Donald Trump, for instance, is a scare tactic used since the inception of the American republic and is a scare tactic used by authorities in many other countries as well. Plus, the fact that there have been no charges pressed against Donald Trump means there is no ‘probable cause’ or any serious evidence that would enable his accusers to prove that Donald Trump spied on America on behalf of foreign governments. 

Also, Trump has been investigated and accused of collaborating with foreign powers by the American media and by Democrats ever since he decided to run for president about six or seven years ago, and yet, no charges have been brought to bear against him after all the accusations and investigations. Moreover, the issue of ‘classification’ and adding legal ramifications to the handling and use of information has more to do with hiding dirt and hiding government wrongdoings than with “National Security,” as has been evinced by the declassification of information relating to the “Bay of Pigs” invasion and other instances. The issue of the “classification” and “de-classification” of information happens to be an issue which is the expertise of an old professor of mine while I was a student at American University. Also, those of us who have specialized in the area of foreign policy or national security know that anything that has to do with “National Security” can be deciphered and inferred through “Open-Source Intelligence” (OSINT).

In turn, the issue of “classification” and adding legal ramifications to the handling and use of information is an issue that needs re-adjusting and tailoring to a day and age where information is no longer bound by the controls and restrictions of certain authorities whose lines of authority are now “blurred” as a result of globalization and technology. Why official and mainstream propaganda in many countries is not as effective in brainwashing and controlling people as it was in the past can also be attributed to globalization and technology. 

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